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Theoretical particle physics research - simulations and theory

  1. Mar 16, 2009 #1
    I have just embarked upon a PhD in Lattice QCD. I'm wondering, what is research like in other areas of theoretical particle physics? Lattice is highly computational and fairly light on theory so it seems a lot of people in the field spend quite a bit of time making/updating and running large amounts of code. Does most research in theoretical particle physics involve numerical simulations to a large extent? Is there anyone that still does things with good old pen and paper apart from maybe string theorists?

    I say this because I guess I like the formal side of things more than the computational part which I find kind of mechanical. But it seems that most research in theoretical particle physics involves a fair amount of numerical simulations, so it is kinda inescapable.
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 17, 2009 #2
    The problem is that working 'on the more formal side of things' takes a tremendous amount of mathematical background these days, the equivalent of several years of graduate math classes. Even though there are not many people doing this stuff relatively, that is not because of money* but because people who have a sufficient background are rare.

    *If formal theoretical physicists could not find funding, then how could any mathematicians find funding at all! Unless this were all some kind of political game with semi-arbitrary rules and initial conditions, which it is.
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